Last night was the final ramble of the season for the Old Askean Rambling Club. Despite all our good intentions Julia and I had not been able to make any of the rambles; until last night when I was able to make the final one of the season - a gentle ramble around Eltham. Not much of a choice of walks you might think; but you would be wrong. We started at Eltham Palace and at the back of it there is a surprising amount of green spaces. Eighteen of us rambled for a gentle couple of miles, expertly guided by Dermot Poston who is a fount of local knowledge. We went via some farms and fields to the Tarn, past some lovely house to Royal Blackheath Golf Club and then back to our starting point. We finished at Dermot's house for a glass of wine and some food - an excellent way to spend a Wednesday evening - and we avoided all the rain bar a few spots proving that the sun does shine on the righteous!
Last Thursday I was elected President of the Old Askean Association. I feel somewhat of a fraud as until recent years I has not taken any part in it. For dome reason links with the old school, or rather college as it now is have lapsed somewhat. It is my aim to strengthen these links and we can hopefully increase the membership of the "Old Boys". If you would like information on joining the Old Askeans' please write a comment to this post.
Julia and I are just back form a couple of days at the Lodge. The aim was to finish off the work and generally make sure all was "shipshape and Bristol fashion". The one major outstanding item was the cooker and the problems we were having with it, when using the grill the controls become too hot to handle. We had arranged for a service engineer to attend to take temperature measurements etc; as luck would have it we found out at 9 pm the evening before he was due to arrive that the power was being turned off during the day by the local supply company - the best laid plans of mice and men. One day we will get this finished, he said hopefully.
For the past three years we have held a Parish "One Mass Day". The aim is to gather the whole Parish together and have one Eucharistic Celebration. As there are so many people attending the event has to be held out-of doors. This year we were blessed with splendid weather and a gathering of some 750 people. The preparation for the event takes some days and a lot of hard work; that is just preparing the site, erecting marquees, building a stage etc. Never mind the liturgy, choir practice etc. Still the hard work is worthwhile and this year it was a great success. After the Mass there is a picnic followed by entertainment put on by the parishioners. This year quite a few stayed behind after the event to help clear the site which we did in record time. At least we have 12 months to recover before next years "One Mass Day"!
Canon Alfred Patrick Pearson was born on 16th April 1932 in Brockley, only son of Alfred and Mary. He was encouraged by Fr Norman Gillett of Forest Hill to discern his vocation, and attended Mark Cross before studying at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh. The Reverend ‘Alfred’ Pearson was ordained priest on 23rd May 1959 in the Seminary Chapel along with six others from his year, by Bishop Cyril Cowderoy. Fr Alfred preferred his middle name, and was usually called Paddy by those who knew him.
Fr Pearson’s first priestly appointment was to the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lee, where he was to remain for nearly ten years. Records indicate that he was next appointed to the parish of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, in Canterbury, on his tenth anniversary, 23rd May 1969. He was in Canterbury for just under a year and a half, before being appointed in October 1970 to another church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, this time in Sevenoaks.
In August 1975 Fr Paddy was appointed as Parish Priest to Saint Simon Stock Parish, Walderslade. His ministry was very much appreciated in the Parish, as was shown in a letter to the Archbishop, shortly after it had been announced Paddy was to be moved. The letter referred to Fr Paddy’s ‘marvellous work’ and how stunned the people felt when they heard of the ‘terrible decision’ that would move him away from Walderslade to the parish of Saint Henry and Saint Elizabeth, on the Isle of Sheppey.
He took up his new appointment as Parish Priest in April 1978, and at the same time took on the duties of Dean of the Chatham Deanery, a role he undertook for nearly six years. In 1983 towards the end of his second term as Dean, Paddy wished to stand down as Dean, and asked the Deanery clergy not to put his name forward. However, the majority of clergy in the deanery ignored this request; after much thought and with regret and he wrote to the Archbishop to decline the role, due in part to the poor health of his father. During his time at Sheerness he celebrated his silver jubilee, and in a note to the Archbishop he wrote that he was “looking forward to my ‘Golden’ ”, a milestone he reached recently.
In 1984 a series of meetings took place in the diocese introducing ‘Ministry to Priests’. Paddy was unable to attend his local meeting due to surgery, but he wrote to the Archbishop with his thoughts. He believed “that something needs to be done to encourage priests who are shy and / or lonely”, but he favoured ‘Jesus Caritas Fraternals’. He concluded his letter saying “Nevertheless I would vote for the scheme if it were flexible and there were priests who would find it a source of support in the lives.” The Archbishop listened carefully to Paddy’s comments, so much that he made Paddy a Team Member in the
Ministry to Priests programme. He went on later to serve five years on the On-Going Formation Team.
Fr Paddy spent nearly eight and a half years on Sheppey, and was key in the process of restoring the parish buildings “to edifices of which we [the diocese] can be proud”.
In September 1986 Fr Paddy was appointed as Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Parish, Bromley, a post he was to hold for twenty years until his retirement in the summer of 2006. In March 2000 the Archbishop appointed Paddy as a Chapter Canon; he felt “honoured” by the appointment, he wrote that “it is awe inspiring to be asked to contribute to the deliberations of the Chapter”.
After his retirement he moved to live near the Cathedral, and was a great support to the Dean and Cathedral staff, regularly celebrating Mass and hearing confessions. At Easter of 2010 Canon Paddy suffered a stroke, and made a very good recovery. Soon after he moved to a flat next to the presbytery in Petts Wood, to be closer to the many friends he had made in Bromley.
Canon Paddy was a priest of great generosity and hospitality. He had a great care for his brother priests, especially those who worked with him as curates, and frequently entertained very generously – often at his club, the Overseas League. He died of a heart attack on Thursday 23rd June 2011, at his flat in Petts Wood, aged 79 years, in the 53rd year of his priesthood.
I am a retired Consulting IT Specialist. I have been married to Julia for nearly 47 years and we are blessed with four children; David, Andrew, Lawrie and Hélèna. Not forgetting the "other half's"; Gaew married to Andrew, Lawrie's partner Emma and Hélèna's husband Sam.
In addition we have a grandson - Henry Thomas, son of Lawrie and Emma. Henry was four in April 2017 and he now has a sister, Georgia, born on 29 December 2017.
I am ordained as a Permanent Deacon in the RC Church - date of ordination 8 June 2013 so am now in my fifth year of ministry.